Plants

Why You Should Add More Native Species to Your Garden

Gardening is a popular pastime for people of all ages and living conditions. Gardeners put in hours of work to provide food for their families, beautify their backyards and help the environment.

Even though many of the plants in your garden may look beautiful, they’re not always the best for you or the environment. Garden centres may sell invasive plants or non-native species, which prevent other plants from growing or require a lot of maintenance. Often, people purchase these not knowing the harm they can do to the environment.

If you’ve been struggling to maintain your garden or put more effort into it than you would like, you should consider adding native species. These are plants that have naturally evolved and adapted to a region without human interference. Here’s why you should add more native species to your garden.

 

 

1. They Create a Wildlife Habitat

Native plants attract wildlife, leading to a more biodiverse environment. When they can thrive in their environment, like your garden or backyard, it benefits the environment and your other plants. Pollinators, like birds and bees, will frequent your property when native species are growing. They’ll help pollinate your vegetables and fruit trees for a high yield. Plus, these plants offer a home for small animals and organisms in the soil.

2. They’re Healthier for the Planet

Unlike invasive species, which often require fertilizers and pesticides to thrive, native species can thrive on their own without chemicals, making them a healthier choice for the environment. Native plants also strengthen the soil structure, which prevents erosion and water runoff. Besides that, they can store excess carbon dioxide, making for cleaner air around your home.

 

3. They Conserve Water

One of the most significant topics involving sustainability is water conservation. Many people often overuse or waste fresh water to water their gardens and yards. Lawn irrigation accounts for a large percentage of water consumption. Non-native plants require more water because they aren’t used to the environment around them.

4. They Provide Protection From Invasive Species

Planting native species in your garden can protect against invasive species. Native plants are hardier, more robust, and have deeper root systems. If an invasive plant species were to find its way to your yard, it wouldn’t be able to survive against native plants. They’re highly competitive and won’t allow harmful plants to take over your lawn and garden. Make sure you keep up with their care in the first few years after planting, though, so they can grow strong.

 

5. They Offer Food

salmonberry
Image by Richard Droker (flickr) CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Many native plant species can provide food. When you plant a garden with native species, you’re providing all the above benefits and more. Plants like blueberries, cranberries, raspberries and wild grapes are all native to the United States. The more food you gather from your garden, the better it is for the environment. Your food won’t have to travel as far, lowering carbon emissions.

 

6. They Improve Soil Quality

As a gardener, you want the best soil possible for your plants. A productive, growing garden starts with healthy, fertile soil. Various native plants can capture nitrogen from the air and deposit it as nutrients into the soil. Additionally, since native plants are hardier, their root systems penetrate deep into the ground, which can break up clay soils to allow water through. They help the earth retain water and nutrients, too.

 

Creating a Beautiful Garden With Native Plants

Native species provide a wealth of benefits for you and the environment. They survive well in their specific climate, help the environment, offer you food, save money, and provide you with a stunning space. Check out your local garden centre for a list of native plants in your region, and get planting.

Jane Marsh

Jane writes on environmental sustainability, agriculture and gardening. She also works as the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co.

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